Police headquarters, KCSN radio set to leave campus residence halls by 2010

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CSUN’s radio station and the Department of Public Safety will both move out of the University Park Apartments by 2010, leaving more bed spaces open for students while returning space that both entities used initially because of earthquake-related relocations.

KCSN, CSUN’s nonprofit radio station, is scheduled to move into the new Valley Performing Arts Center by 2010 once construction is completed. A university fundraising group has raised more than $4 million so far on the $100 million project.

“We’re taking up room that the university needs to house students,” said Fred Johnson, general manager of KCSN. “We’ll move out and (renovators) will come in and knock out walls and windows to make it more livable.”

Tim Trevan, director of Student Housing and Conference Services, said there would be modifications to Lupin Hall, or Building 11, to make the space useable again to students.

“We will have only 12 bed spaces to return to the students,” Trevan said of the space now occupied by KCSN.

KCSN is located in Lupin Hall, a residence hall along Zelzah Avenue, and has been located there for more than 11 years following the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

“We’ve been surviving here post-earthquake mode and doing radio in a dorm. It has its challenges,” said Johnson, who mentions that the radio station works with a makeshift soundproof booth made out of shower stalls.

KCSN used to be located on the second floor of the former Speech Drama Building, now named Nordhoff Hall. The facility was damaged during the 1994 earthquake, which forced the radio station to be relocated to a number of other areas before finally being placed in Lupin Hall.

“We were located in a tent on the soccer field (on Zelzah Avenue), and then in a mobile home with a portable generator. And now we’re up here in no man’s land by the Satellite Student Union,” Johnson said.

“Students will have the ability to work in a complete state-of-the-art building. (This will be a) professional studio environment versus sitting in a dorm room and watching people play volleyball, which I don’t mind, it’s great,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the building would have many windows, similar to Manzanita Hall, so that the radio station crew could be seen above from the outside.

“A brand new radio facility will be gorgeous,” he said. “I’ve been doing radio forever, but for a student who’s never done radio, it will be mind-boggling.”

The Department of Public Safety will move to the corner of Darby Avenue and Prairie Street in December 2006, according to the CSUN police spokesperson Christina Villalobos. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Sept. 19. The department anticipates occupying the building in December 2006, Villalobos said.

The police station is currently on the first floor of Rosecrown Hall, or Building 14, also a dorm building along Zelzah Avenue. Once moved, the floor occupied by Public Safety will be fully renovated back to student living.

“(The Department of Public Safety) will commit to pay for the use of the space until June of 2007,” Trevan said. “The summer months will be used for reconstruction of the building to be ready for the Fall 2007 semester.”

Rachel Levitt, assistant director of the Women’s Resource and Research Center at CSUN, applied for housing late during her freshman year and was at the bottom of the waiting list. She was not able to get a room until the spring semester of her freshman year.

“If that kind of demand is still there, then we need more housing,” she said.

The senior communication studies and women’s studies double major said she was not aware of the construction of the new police station but believes its new location will better accommodate CSUN students and the surrounding community.

“I think it will be more accessible to students that are commuters and who aren’t familiar with the student housing areas,” Levitt said. “Having police and legal resources more accessible and visible will positively affect a lot of the student population.”

Villalobos said the reason for the new building because Public Safety currently works out of a dorm building, which is too small and not suitable or equipped for a police facility.

Villalobos said having the new station at the corner of Darby Avenue and Prairie Street will be beneficial to the CSUN community because of its close proximity to the center of the campus and its new visibility and accessibility.

“(We will be in) a central location, at the administrative heart of the university. (Currently, we’re) surrounded by residential dorms, a high school and a track,” he said.

Levitt does not believe the new location will affect the response time police will have to get to crime scenes because there is an escort service, officers on foot, and transportation by car.

The police station moved to Rosecrown Hall after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The police were formerly located on Halsted Street.

“Again, we were out of place, not easily accessible, and under-equipped,” Villalobos said. “Even before we were here, it didn’t improve when we went to the dorms, but this is a huge improvement.”

Trevan said the university reevaluates leases with outside organizations on a year-to-year basis, but no plans have been made to terminate the English First Institute’s lease with the university. The EF Institute occupies the entirety of Saguara Hall, or Building 11, also along Zelzah Avenue.

“The EF Institute has a lease for the building. They are not affiliated with CSUN. They are a separate entity,” Trevan said.

English First is an international organization that leases space on other campuses, such as in Santa Barbara, Seattle, Boston, and London.

Currently, around 160 students reside in the EF building. There are 192 bed spaces, but some rooms are used for administration and classrooms.

“The reason why EF occupied the building is because there was a low demand for student housing at the time, and we (housing) needed to pay our mortgage, so it was mutually beneficial,” Trevan said.

Trevan said students in the building are international students, but are not CSUN international students. He also states that the faculty and administration of EF are not affiliated with CSUN.

“Our goal is always to house as many students as needed,” he said. “I think this is a very positive move.”

Cynthia Ramos can be reached at cynthia.ramos.838@csun.edu.